|At the Ducal Council’s Royal Bunny contest stop at The Edge, Project Runway alum Jack Mackenroth joins columnist and Grand Duchess Pollo Del Mar for a photo opportunity. PHOTO BY HUNG PHAN
Notorious Sainted Glamazon About Town
Jack Mackenroth is a bitch.
That’s not a revelation – I don’t even think he tries to deny this fact – because there isn’t a drag queen alive, not even Heklina or Sister Roma, with a sharper tongue or more smarmy comments than the Project Runway alum who shot to fame as the first person in the reality show’s history to be upfront about being HIV-positive. Thankfully, he’s also super nice and one of the funniest people I’ve potentially ever met.
After catching wind of my recent Grand Ducal Council-sponsored fundraiser with our mutual friend and RuPaul’s Drag Race star Ongina, which brought in close to $3,000 for Bay Area HIV/AIDS service organizations, Jack quickly contacted me to say he would be in town March 26-29 for a conference in the South Bay. When he asked if I had time to hang out over the weekend, of course, I jumped at the chance.
I received a text message saying he was finally in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, I was racing to meet reigning Emperor Stephen Dorsey, Empress XLII Chika, San Jose’s Empress XXXIX Mona Lott-Moore, Felipe Saldana, Xenea Miletti and many of my other friends at an Imperial Court Coronation in Stockton. By the time I was more than ready to return to the City that evening at 10 p.m., he was already nestled in bed.
However, Jack and I finally connected Sunday morning over breakfast at Harvey’s. While there, be bumped into an incognito BeBe Sweetbriar – as if a newly platinum blond drag queen can be “incognito,” even sans make-up – and gossiped about the local drag scene.
Whether sharing stories about New York City drag celebutante Hedda Lettuce, who was also in town over the weekend for a series of appearances at the Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko, or the world’s most famous transsexual Amanda Lepore, who apparently wears stiletto heels on the treadmill while working out at Jack’s favorite Big Apple gym, we laughed and caught up.
Later that afternoon, Jack joined me at The Edge, where the Ducal Court hosted the third leg of its annual Royal Bunny Contest and San Francisco Night Ministry fundraising series (which concludes 5-8 p.m. on Easter Sunday at Café Flore. Shortly after Jack uproariously read me for an untrimmed patch – ok, perhaps several untrimmed patches – of chest hair, someone asked us how long we have been friends. To be honest, neither of us could say exactly.
What I am certain of is that, since appearing on Season 4 of the popular Bravo-turned-Lifetime Channel fashion show — where a nasty staph infection forced him to exit the competition prematurely — Jack has been tirelessly advocating for HIV/AIDS awareness and education. As a result, hehe’s flown all over the country, speaking at conferences and making media appearances. It was in preparation for one of his many trips to San Francisco, probably a couple of years back, that I first interviewed him.
When he randomly showed up at Lookout after that particular event, where I was still hosting BRAIN FARTS trivia with BeBe, we met face-to-face for the first time. We clicked.
Since then, I’ve seen Jack repeatedly – only when I’m in drag, mind you, until this time – and interviewed him many times for publications around the country. More recently, on the national internet POZIAM radio program and podcast (Google it!), Jack and host Robert Breining interviewed me about the HIV/AIDS fundraising work and activism I participate in here in the city.
At this point, I’m pleased to actually call him a friend. In fact, I like the guy so much, I even offered to drive him to the airport Sunday night to catch his flight home.
Promising he travels light – unlike Ongina, who loaded my little car with so much l thought it would never all fit – I picked Jack up from a friend’s house where he was staying. When he walked out lugging a suitcase so huge he could have been smuggling a family of illegal aliens, my mouth dropped.
“That’s never going to fit in my trunk” I told him after surveying the situation.
“Oh, sure it will!” he said, “I mean, what do you drive, a…”
“A Miata,” I said, cutting him off. “And the trunk is the size of a school lunchbox.”
After 15 minutes of trying to maneuver his baggage into the tiny rear compartment, we had no choice but to load Jack into the car first and wedge the heavy suitcase onto his lap. As we drove, I was forced to reach under his massive carry-all to shift gears, my arm cramping as I did so. Every time the car bounced, the suitcase accidentally turned on the flashers.
“It only seems appropriate,” Jack deadpanned as we made our way down Market Street toward the highway, “At this point we really are a hazard!”
As we pulled up to the airport, Jack smiled at me. “I really do love your little car,” he said. I couldn’t tell whether he was being honest or being a bitch again. “No, seriously. When I don’t have a 700-lb. bag giving leaving a hematoma on my knees, I actually love these little sports cars.”
I just nodded as I got out to open the door for Jack and scrape him off the passenger’s seat. As he waved good-bye and headed into the airport, I pulled out my iPhone to update my Twitter account.
“Hey, NYC, when you see the bruises on Jack Mackenroth’s knees tomorrow, I’m proud to say those are MY doing!” I tweeted with a little smug satisfaction.
I guess my secret is out now, too. I can be quite the bitch as well. That might have been a rather poorly kept secret as well, but I know it’s one Jack can truly appreciate. As they say, birds of a feather flock together!
Follow “The Glamazon” at Facebook.com/PolloDelMar or Twitter.com/TheGlamazonPDM or at Pollo_DelMar@Yahoo.com.